Over 200 students from across the South Hams attended a careers fair successfully hosted at South Devon College.

Students got the opportunity to talk to over 40 employers and find out about the opportunities on their doorsteps across South Devon.

Laurence Frewin, Principal and CEO of South Devon College said: “What’s really important about the event for me is making sure young people get a chance to talk directly to employers and find out about the opportunities, talk to employers about their subjects and what their opportunities are with them…

“They’re getting the information they need to make the choices and often when we talk to parents and students, they don’t know what great opportunities are on offer in South Devon.”

Student Gemma O’Flaherty said: “I want to do physiotherapy, but I want to do a higher apprenticeship so I can train in the industry.”  

Student Delphine Stilwell said: “I was hoping to see what everything has to offer, have some good conversations and see what I can find out…

“I’m hoping to go into something to do with sports psychology or teaching and I definitely plan to go to university.”

The fair organised by Anthony Mangnall MP and South Devon College gave businesses and employers across South Devon the chance to showcase the jobs, apprenticeships and higher education options to inspire local students.

Anthony Mangnall MP said: “This college is training people to prepare for the multiple opportunities that are out there, and this college is the embodiment of what I want our local jobs market to be which is plenty of opportunities, lots of things to learn and do, lots of trades and skills to take up, and that is exactly what this is about…

“I think South Devon College is one of the best FE colleges in the country, there is no doubt about that. I had the education secretary down here two weeks ago and I made exactly that point to her. What we have here is an all singing, all dancing college that is proving itself time and time again with the most remarkable results.”

One of the local company’s seeking new recruits was Bay Photonics, who specialise in building prototypes requiring a technically innovative approach to their production, working with some of the leading opto-electronic component manufacturers to produce world-leading products, all from South Devon.

Technician for Bay Photonics, David England said: “We are part of a project where we train and give skills to college staff so they can teach students about silicon packaging and other specialised skills.”

Bay Photonics are one of the many companies playing their part in the growing engineering sector in South Devon.

The fair showcased the diversity of jobs on offer across South Devon, from cutting-edge engineering to the traditional craft of fishing.

Harry Owen, manager of Western Fish Producers said: “There’s a shortage of young people looking to get in or interested in the industry, I think there’s a lot of barriers and a lot of people don’t realise how to get into the industry or see it as a viable career path…

“So, the idea is to try and soften that a bit and make it seem like it’s something people understand and might want to get involved with.”

Brixham has the second most valuable fishing port in the UK and having a steady stream of young people coming into the industry is of paramount importance for the industry to be sustainable. South Devon College is one of very few colleges to offer fishing as a vocational course.

Harry Owen went on to say about the course the college offers: “It’s useful having this course so people from all walks of life who don’t necessarily have a family background in fishing can have an understanding as to how they might go about getting involved with the industry.”

As well as meeting employers, students were able to get advice on self-employment, CV writing and other employability skills.